Star Trek, Walking Dead and WWE invade Nashville Comic Con


By: Maranda Faris and Max Smith

Wizard World Comic Con in Nashville wrapped up day two of the three-day convention on Saturday, featuring panels from Star Trek, Walking Dead and WWE cast members.

Appearances by Sean Astin of Lord of the Rings, Evan Peters of American Horror Story and Alan Tudyk of Firefly were cancelled prior to the day’s events, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the cosplayers and other attendees. Instead, the multiple Star Trek panels that took the place of Astin’s mid-morning Q&A were filled to capacity with those who had arrived for Astin, as well as the plethora of Trekkies in the mix.

William Shatner’s appearance was pushed to 1 p.m., two hours before his scheduled time, due to a change in flight plans, according to convention security. Shatner did not disappoint the wall-to-wall crowd of fans, but instead warned them of his intentions going into the afternoon’s Q&A.

“You’re going to ask me questions, and I am going to ramble. I will probably not answer your questions,” Shatner said.

When asked any question from the audience, Shatner inevitably told stories from his days as Captain Kirk and seldom answered anything the fans asked. Most notably, Shatner asked an 11-year-old audience member, “What is it like to be 11? Do you go to school with a sense of anticipation?”

Her answer was no, and Shatner delved into a ten minute discussion on podcasts hosted by children.

William Shatner answering fan questions at Wizard World Comic Con in Nashville.
William Shatner answering fan questions at Wizard World Comic Con in Nashville. Photo by Max Smith

The next Star Trek panel featured LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge), of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow fame, and Brent Spiner (Data) from Next Gen.

The panel was one of several moderated by Aaron Sagers was more of a relaxed conversation between old friends than a question and answer session.

Most questions were directed at Spiner asking him what it was like to play an emotionless android and what it was like to be on Star Trek. When Burton was asked anything by the audience, most questions were in regards to his time on Reading Rainbow.

Burton said he hoped to never give up his job of hosting Reading Rainbow and said that a recent Kickstarter campaign to revive the show had been “an enormous success,” passing its $1 million goal in the first day and ultimately reaching $6.4 million in funding.

WWE Superstar Kane speaking to fans in Nashville. Photo by Maranda Faris

 WWE superstar Kane kicked off the back-to-back wrestling panels on Saturday afternoon by going 15 minutes over his assigned end time.

Adults and children took the microphone in the discussion to ask Kane, unmasked, about his favorite wrestlers, storylines and his varying forms of the Kane character.

“In Wrestlemania 14, I tombstoned Pete Rose,” Kane said, adding that not long after, he took the WWE (then-WWF) Championship from Steve Austin. “Even after all these years, those two [are my favorites.]”

The wrestler added that in his downtime, he enjoys reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a statement which brought a roar from the crowd.

Following Kane were WWE Divas the Bella Twins, Brie and Nikki Bella, in one of the more awkward panels of the night, playing up the storyline rift between the sisters carrying over from recent weeks on Monday Night Raw.

The Bella’s panel focused mainly on the sisters’ relationships with John Cena and Daniel Bryan, their time as Divas and the E! reality show Total Divas.

The night ended with dual Q&A sessions with Jon Bernthal and Michael Rooker, both of which were former cast members of The Walking Dead.

Bernthal blatantly ignored suggestions that the event be remotely family-friendly, beginning the event by letting the audience know that he was no stranger to Nashville.

Michael Rooker speaking fans in Nashville. Photo by Maranda Faris
Michael Rooker speaking fans in Nashville. Photo by Maranda Faris

“Hells yeah. Nashville is dope,” Bernthal said.

Bernthal’s main topics of discussion during the panel included his character’s death on Walking Dead and his part in Wolf of Wall Street, gushing about working with Martin Scorscese.

Rooker began the final Walking Dead panel with stories from his childhood, including running barefoot on Alabama asphalt and a robber coming in through his uncle’s Memphis apartment window.

The discussion filled with laughs from the audience as Rooker’s crass attitude was more amusing than rude, talked of his work in Mallrats and, most recently, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Rooker ended his session with a rapid-fire Q&A, cramming roughly 15 responses to fans into the span of about five minutes.

The convention will continue on Sunday with scheduled appearances from Eliza Dushku of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs of Charmed and a discussion on DC versus Marvel Comics.

For more from Wizard World Comic Con, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter/Instagram at @Sidelines_Life for live coverage of the event.

To contact Lifestyles editor John Connor Coulston, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com

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